Green's Spring conference targets the banks and Labour


The Green Party is holding its Spring Conference in Nottingham this weekend. But its choice of location is no coincidence.

The campus venue at Nottingham University is home to some of the latest research in creating eco-friendly homes.

This political party's come a long way since it was formed at the Bridge pub at Napton, in Warwickshire, 40 years ago. Inspired by the growth of the green movement in Germany, the party went through early birth name change: People, then Ecology before settling on the Green Party.

Its leader is former Guardian journalist Natalie Bennett. Elected last autumn, her priority now is to spread the message that the Greens aren't a single issue political party.

Start Quote

Labour is staying so close to the Tories on policy terms, we have a huge opportunity to talk about our policies”

End Quote Natalie Bennett Leader, Green Party

The banks are in her sights for causing the global recession. The multinationals for not paying "a fair" tax. So is the Labour Party for taking Britain into the Iraq war.

"Because Labour is staying so close to the Tories on policy terms, we have a huge opportunity to talk about our policies, " she told me.

"Making the minimum wage a living wage, for example. We are wanting to renationalise the railways. That's popular with every audience I ever come across."

The Greens have two MEPs and in Caroline Lucus, a Westminster MP.

"Caroline has before Parliament a land value tax bill, " added Natalie Bennett.

"This would replace council tax and business rates with a far more equitable system.

"It would stop land banking and would ensure that local councils have the funding they need."

One of the party's councillors is Richard Mallender from Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire.

Before the conference started, he was shown some of the world-leading research at Nottingham University on creating energy efficient homes.

In a quiet cul-de-sac on the university campus, there are six experimental carbon-zero houses . They will shape future home design and help meet the 2016 deadline for Britain's carbon reduction targets.

"We developed these carbon zero homes from the design and development stage through to people living in them," said Professor Mark Gillott, of the University's School of Architecture and Built Environment.

"We feed that back to industry so when we get to 2016 and we build these homes on mass, we'll have learnt the lessons to smooth the way."

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It's also about getting building regulations up to standard and the building industry working smarter with local councils”

End Quote Cllr Richard Mallender Rushcliffe Green Party

Mr Mallender is one of the Greens' 134 councillors in England and Wales. He believes local councils have a key role in delivering those targets.

"This is the standard of housing we need to see for the whole of the UK," he told me.

"It's also about getting building regulations up to standard and the building industry working smarter with local councils."

The Greens believe they are no longer a fringe party. Their message and policies from the Nottingham conference could set the tone for the party's next 40 years.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    @16. Stuart Wilson

    Starting with the loss of the coveted, if somewhat discredited, AAA rating. This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end, though perhaps it is the end of the beginning...


    What's that got to do with this story?

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    One only needs to read through the Greens' manifesto to realize that behind their "environmental" veneer they are, at heart, hard-left socialists demanding nationalization, even higher and more punitive taxes on businesses and those who create them, and state interference in every aspect of citizens's lives. In other words, state-socialism as horrendous as that peddled by Old Labour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16. guy

    Starting with the loss of the coveted, if somewhat discredited, AAA rating. This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end, though perhaps it is the end of the beginning...

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    I am going to vote green in future because I believe they can be trusted to do what they say they will do, and because their policies are fair. Caroline Lucas is a brilliant MP, and stood down as leader to allow the party to grow. I don't see any of the other leaders willing to release any power they have.
    Right now, the greens would be the best party for economic and social recovery.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    I keep wishing for a 'Jedi Census Phenomenon' that delivers a Green government. For all those saying "they don't stand a chance, so I won't vote for them" - I strongly suspect the top 3 parties think the same way and won't give you anything you want as long as they expect to be voted into government 'on the rebound'.

    Voting isn't about guessing the winner, it's about saying what you want.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    The Green Party are pushing some of the very best ideas. Ideas which could pump ADRENALINE into our economy!

    Innovations into new Eco-friendly homes and more importantly 'Retro-fit' initiatives are probably the single biggest opportunities we have to tackle housing issues, energy usage, and ECONOMIC RECOVERY!.

    I'd urge ALL politicians to study these compelling initiatives VERY closely indeed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    I quite like the way she tore into millipede about saying sorry about the iraq war fiasco, and rightly so what a pointless exercise by a useless government.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    I love caroline lucas, an honest MP, amongst the scum that is the houses of parliament. I would vote green if they had a chance sadly they dont because we need proportional representation and then they would.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    The Greens would get my vote if they stood a chance in the unfair voting system. Unfortunately the only party that can get rid of the current disaster is Labour so we have to throw our weight there. Labour and Greens could be a great coalition.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    The youth of today are very progressive, so all the Green party needs to do is tweak a few of its outlandish policies and place a bit more emphasis on its non-environmental plans. If it succeeds, I'll gladly join them in their quest for a fairer, safer and more green Britain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    It's a real shame that the Green Party aren't bigger and stand no chance in the current electoral system. Their policies are by far the closest to my personal views.

    It's also a shame imo that Caroline Lucas didn't stay on as the leader. I understand her reasons for quitting but just think that of all the MPs out there she is probably the only one I found genuinely likeable and trustworthy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    "No longer a fringe party" ... If so, then where then is their candidate in the Eastleigh by-election?

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Its good to see alternatives like the Greens opening up and to see them rightly taking Labour to task. Labour are a consistent disaster area. They always leave a mess for other parties to clear up, then complain when they are clearing up Labour's mess, then "apologise" without meaning one word of it, then present the same old faces saying "reelect us". No. Labour can get lost!

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Nationalised energy and railways? I'm in.

    Living wage to replace minimum wage? I'm in.

    Land value tax? I'm in.

    Mass building of social housing? I'm in.

    Tweak a few of the more eccentric policies (i.e. defence) and the Green manifesto is a winner.

    As a Labour Party member, hopefully Ed's paying attention to the plaudits the Greens are receiving and sets Labour's election fight similarily.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    I have lived through three periods of Labour government (Wilson, Callaghan, and Blair/Brown). Labour are the worst thing that has ever happened to this country. So if the Greens want to attack them, that is fine by me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    The Green Party, kinda left in the 1980's really, with the tories finishing off the economy do we care about green issues? can we afford to worry about thing green? We probably should, but somehow I dont think green issues are going to be what the next election is fought over

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    The big problem with Politics is down to the fact that all Politicians think they are right,and everyone else has got it wrong?
    The Party can be any name ......
    If they ignore Public Opinion.....or do not care about Public Opinion.....They become history.........
    Tory..Labour...Liberal...Green..,,or any other colour..or any other name.....
    If the Public do not matter....Why should you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    We know we cannot trust any of the three major parties - it is time to start taing the minor parties (& where lucky enough to have them stand Independants).


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